By Yang Xiao Tong 杨晓童, Intern at KEDISA
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than other”
– George Orwell, Animal Farm
While George Orwell has originally intended on his novella Animal Farm to be a political satire criticising the Soviet Union under Stalin, I believe that it continues to have relevance – decades after the dissolution of Soviet Union, for the voice of reason has once again been drowned out by the voices of conformity and the mantra of “Napoleon is always right” once again reverberates through the air.,  When the Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni Civil War at the request of President Hadi of Yemen, whom had only been recently ousted from power by the Houthis, the subsequent indiscriminate bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructures, naval and aerial blockade among other numerous accounts of war crimes created “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world” according to the United Nations Crisis Relief.
However, despite of a famine of an epic proportion looming over the people of Yemen like the Sword of Damocles, the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in the Yemeni Civil War has been overshadowed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine according to United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres – especially in the West might I add.,  Now, this development is hardly surprising considering that the West had been complicit in this crime against humanity since the very beginning. For example, while the United States provided intelligence and logistical support and assisted the Saudis by conducting maritime patrol in order to enforce the naval blockade, other Western countries, which includes the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy among several others, as well as the United States, had sold and/or is continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and/or members of the Saudi-led coalition, despite being acutely aware of the war crimes the Saudi-led coalition is committing in Yemen., 
Yes, some Western countries such as Italy and Spain did manage to cease the continued sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia, but countries such as the United States, whose weapons constituted of the majority of Saudi Arabia’s annual purchase, did not. This is despite of President Biden’s pledge to end the United States’ sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia after he had assumed office, which of course, has yet to materialise and until then, the United States continues to be the patron of Saudi aggression in Yemen. Perhaps the allure of oil is too much? Perhaps Western countries need Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves to maintain their economic prosperity? – First of all, following the Shale Revolution in the United States, the United States has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest producer of crude oil in the world.,  Yes, the United States and other Western countries does still need Saudi Arabia’s cooperation in order to keep the oil price relatively low and arguably, since countries does not exist within a vacuum, but a Hobbesian ‘state of nature’, there is no moral qualm about countries needing to prioritise the interests of their people before all others and thus why Western countries has not yet divorced from this marriage of convenience with Saudi Arabia. However, this hypothesis is quickly invalidated if I was to compare this hypothesis with the events which transpired following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, whereby Western countries immediately and unanimously imposed economic sanctions and implemented other equally drastic non-economic measures on Russia such as placing a ban on Russian media despite of the surging gas price and rampant inflation that subsequently ensued in their own countries., , 
Having been educated in the Western educational system nearly all my life, I could recite the concluding remarks of the Gettysburg Address as well as any American; “that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall never perish from this Earth”, so why does Western countries such as the United States (and I speak with touch of sarcasm here) – which portrays itself as the champion of liberty and has declared its mission is to proselytise liberal democracy need to sign onto this Faustian bargain with countries such as Saudi Arabia, a country that is notorious for its authoritarianism and numerous human rights violations? Perhaps the real reason is not so complicated, perhaps it is ‘good old racism’ at work again, perhaps the inhabitants of the West are more prone to being sympathetic towards the people of Ukraine as opposed to the people of Yemen, because the former share an almost identical religion, resembles them more physically and possesses a similar culture? Now it is not my intent to say that that the suffering endured by the people of Yemen is worse than that endured by the people of Ukraine or vice versa, because to do so would mean reduce the very human experience of these people to mere numbers, which I want to avoid. What I am critiquing here is the preposterousness of the West, for instead of being champion of human rights as they have advertised themselves to be, they are, in reality, the physical manifestation of hypocrisy itself.
Worse still is that hardly anyone in the West, especially those who have professed their sympathy with the residents of the Global South in the past, has noticed anything wrong with this phenomenon. Like the sheep in Animal Farm, they have been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs, to bleat incessantly without processing what they are saying and without thinking critically, “four legs good, two legs bad”, “four legs good, two legs better”, what difference does it make? Finally, I would like to end with one last quote from Animal Farm, “no one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves, but sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” – No, it is time for not just those in the West, but everyone in the world to have their agency restored. It will not do to have the plight of the Yemeni people to be drowned out by the plight of the Ukrainian people. How many people will actually heed my advice? I do not know, will those politicians and journalists in the West, sitting high up in their pedestals actually listen? I do not think so… Alas, I imagine that “life will go on as it has always gone on – that is to say, badly.”
 George Orwell, Animal Farm: 50th Anniversary Edition, pg. 69.
 Peter Davidson, George Orwell: Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – Peter Davidson: A Note on the Text.
 George Orwell, Animal Farm: 50th Anniversary Edition, pg. 30.
 United Nations Crisis Relief, Yemen: The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World.
 Aziz El Yaakoubi & Lisa Barrington, Yemen’s Houthis and WFP Dispute Aid Control as Millions Starve.
 Al Jazeera, UN Aid Drive to Avert Yemen Catastrophe Falls Far Short.
 Ali Al Mujahed & Karen DeYoung, Saudi Arabia Launches Air Attacks in Yemen.
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity, Weapons in Saudi Arabia.
 Annelle R. Sheline & Bruce Riedel, Biden’s Broken Promise on Yemen.
 The Strauss Centre for International Security and Law, The U.S. Shale Revolution.
 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
 Natasha Turak, Biden Administration Asked Saudi Arabia to Postpone OPEC Decision by a Month.
 Thompson, Mark, Anna Chernova & Vasco Cotovio, Russia Faces Financial Meltdown as Sanctions Slam Its Economy.
 European Council, EU Imposes Sanctions on State-Owned Outlets RT/Russia Today and Sputnik’s Broadcasting in the EU.
 Euronews, War, Energy Crisis and Inflation: The EU’s Top 5 Stories of the Year.
 Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.
 George Orwell, Animal Farm: 50th Anniversary Edition, pg. 34 & 69.
 George Orwell, Animal Farm: 50th Anniversary Edition, pg. 30.
 Ibid., pg. 27.
- Al Mujahed, Ali & Karen DeYoung, Saudi Arabia Launches Air Attacks in Yemen, The Washington Post, WP Company, 25th March, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/report-yemens-embattled-president-flees-stronghold-as-rebels-advance/2015/03/25/e0913ae2-d2d5-11e4-a62f-ee745911a4ff_story.html.
- Davidson, Peter, George Orwell: Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – Peter Davidson: A Note on the Text, 19th December, 2004, https://web.archive.org/web/20061212041856/http://www.orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/eint_pd.
- El Yaakoubi, Aziz & Lisa Barrington, Yemen’s Houthis and WFP Dispute Aid Control as Millions Starve, Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 4th June, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-wfp/yemens-houthis-and-wfp-dispute-aid-control-as-millions-starve-idUSKCN1T51YO.
- EU Imposes Sanctions on State-Owned Outlets RT/Russia Today and Sputnik’s Broadcasting in the EU, European Council, European Council, 2nd March, 2022, https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/03/02/eu-imposes-sanctions-on-state-owned-outlets-rt-russia-today-and-sputnik-s-broadcasting-in-the-eu/.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Government, 8th December, 2022, https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=709&t=6.
- Lincoln, Abraham, The Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln Online, 19th November, 1863, https://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm.
- Orwell, George, Animal Farm: 50th Anniversary Edition, New York, New York: Signet Classic, 1996.
- Sheline, Annelle R. & Bruce Riedel, Biden’s Broken Promise on Yemen, Brookings, Brookings Institute, 9th March, 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/09/16/bidens-broken-promise-on-yemen/.
- The U.S. Shale Revolution, The Strauss Centre for International Security and Law, The University of Texas at Austin, 19th June, 2020, https://www.strausscenter.org/energy-and-security-project/the-u-s-shale-revolution/.
- Thompson, Mark, Anna Chernova & Vasco Cotovio, Russia Faces Financial Meltdown as Sanctions Slam Its Economy, CNN Business, Cable News Network, 28th February, 2022. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/28/business/russia-ruble-banks-sanctions/index.html.
- Turak, Natasha, Biden Administration Asked Saudi Arabia to Postpone OPEC Decision by a Month, Saudis Say, CNBC, CNBC, 20th October, 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/13/biden-admin-asked-saudi-arabia-to-postpone-opec-cut-by-a-month-saudis-say.html.
- UN Aid Drive to Avert Yemen Catastrophe Falls Far Short, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 16th March, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/16/un-aid-drive-to-avert-yemen-catastrophe-falls-far-short.
- War, Energy Crisis and Inflation: The EU’s Top 5 Stories of the Year, Euronews, Euronews, 27th December, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/12/27/russias-war-the-energy-crisis-and-inflation-these-were-the-top-5-stories-in-the-eu-this-ye.
- Weapons in Saudi Arabia, The Observatory of Economic Complexity, accessed 16th January, 2023, https://oec.world/en/profile/bilateral-product/weapons/reporter/sau?redirect=true.
- Yemen: The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World, United Nations Crisis Relief, United Nations, accessed 16th January, 2023, https://crisisrelief.un.org/yemen-worst-humanitarian-crisis-in-the-world.